Owner of “Mail Drop” Convicted of Manufacturing and Selling Counterfeit Postage
|Aug. 30, 2013|
HOUSTON – Susan Spiegel, the former owner of Postal Connections of America, has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Inspector in Charge Robert Wemyss, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). Spiegel, 70, of Tomball, admitted she caused a loss to U.S. Postal Service (USPS) of more than $39,000.
Postal Connections was a commercial mail receiving agency, or “mail drop,” located in Houston, which was a private business that acts as an agent for receiving and delivering the recipient’s mail. Spiegel had primary responsibility for the daily operations of the business, to include online stamp purchases.
After examining nearly 2000 individual pieces of outgoing mail, investigators determined Spiegel purchased legitimate postage using her company’s Stamps.com account, duplicated it and applied the counterfeit postage to outgoing mail - which was ultimately delivered by the USPS.
Used and re-used sheets of online stamps and more than 1,000 individual counterfeit postage stamps of various denominations were seized from Spiegel’s business. The oldest duplicated stamp dated back to an original print date in 2009. Over time, the investigation revealed a drastic decline in legitimate postage purchased by Postal Connections from Stamps.com.
“The health and success of the Postal Service depends upon strong and aggressive revenue protection,” said Wemyss. “We will continue to identify and pursue dishonest mailers who deliberately avoid proper payment of postage.”
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, who accepted the guilty plea, has set sentencing for Sept. 23, 2013. At that time, she faces a maximum punishment of 20 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine. In addition, Spiegel faces a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $39,256.92 for losses incurred by the USPS.
This case was investigated by the USPIS and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Tammie Y. Moore.